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Five Tips for Giving Oral Presentations

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Five Tips for Giving Oral Presentations

1. Use simple, easy to understand visuals

Visuals often help make a concept clearer than mere words can. This is especially true of difficult to understand and/or visualize scientific or technical information. Your visuals should be easy to understand quickly. Use a lot of white space. Use imagery over text, and use text sparingly.

2. Use clear and natural body language

Often, if you can “show what you mean” via body language — hand gestures, body stance — it can make a concept more clear. It is very important, however, that the gestures seem natural and not forced. Also, using body language can put you and your audience at ease. When people are more relaxed, they can convey and understand complex, scientific and technical information more easily.

3. Use easy to hear language, making it more conversational

Many times words that are perfectly understandable when read, can be misunderstood when heard. Also, a person who is reading can always go back and read an unclear sentence, however, when someone is talking, they can’t go back and listen to the sentence again. This is even more important when you are trying to convey complex information.

4. Keep the speech simple

For most presentation lengths (an hour or less) cover no more than three to five ideas, three is better than five. If your presentation is longer, you can go up to seven. No matter what the topic, people can only understand so much. Much more than three to seven ideas in a speech and people will either lose interest, lose track or both.

5. Use vocal variety

Vocal variety adds personality, interest, and emphasis to your speech. It keeps people interested, which is very important when discussing technical information.


NOTE: This post was updated on October 13, 2017

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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is CarmaSpence.com.